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Make 2017 the year where your therapy business takes off and becomes the business of your dreams!

Here’s a rapid fire list of ideas for action in 2017…  Get ready for the flood!

None of these things are difficult to do (providing you aren’t a technophobe).However they do require some learning and persistence. They require that you make decisions (what to write in a business directory profile) and get on with it  – rather than avoiding those decisions.
The more decisions and actions you take every day the faster your therapy practice will grow.

When I started out as a therapist I trained with the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy (then owned by Donald Robertson) – I only took that one training and applied it. In-depth and thoroughly. Deepening my knowledge by reading and studying. Building skills by applying it all to myself.

Within 18 months of completing my training I was supporting my family in London (on a single income) – and had replaced my £40,000/year salary. Shortly after that I hired my wife (Fabienne, now co-Director) as my secretary because I was so busy.

Don’t get sucked into the “I just need one more course to be ready”. That’s called avoidance. Get on and get cracking!

Probably my biggest mistake was constantly losing focus on my private practice and considering other projects (8 weeks lost to the concept of launching a yoga magazine!).
Focus, focus, focus.
Focus is genius.

Set goals and focus. Apply problem solving constantly.
If the goals are getting you stressed then loosen them up to broader goals (“I want to have a good practice, making reasonable money, helping people”) – specific goals are better but not if they stress you.

Ok – enough rambling. Here’s the list. There a lots more ideas but this is a good solid start.

Building your practice – how to succeed as a hypnotherapist in 2017

Work at least a full 40 hour week (minimum) every week on your business.If you aren’t seeing clients then get busy marketing or honing your skills. (And don’t use honing your skills as an excuse to avoid marketing!) If you aren’t working 40 hours a week on your therapy business then you’ve retired early?
Some of the best and most realistic advice I got was from a hypnotherapist called David Botsford: he said that for the first few months he spent 8 hours marketing for every hour he spent doing hypnotherapy with clients. That’s tough news to hear at the beginning. But be prepared for that and you will succeed.Always be marketing
Coca-cola has never stopped advertising. As a hypnotherapist you will always be marketing. You won’t be seeing the same client for 2 years (unlike a lot of counsellors or psychotherapists) – so you need to have a constant stream of new clients.You want to be doing that because you help people change and fulfil their potential!
So why wouldn’t you be comfortable marketing and letting people know about your services?
Answer: shyness and failing to value what you offer.
Shyness is a key problem that must be overcome. Use what you know to address it strongly and repeatedly. Lifelong habits of shyness will take a while to change but they CAN be changed.
Remember what you offer is priceless in terms of how it can empower people and improve their quality of life. Never forget that.Get our Prospectus AND Hypno-CBT® Toolbox of 35 evidence-based techniques

Get the Prospectus & Toolbox Now!

Develop a Creative, Resilient, Problem-Solving MindsetBuilding a successful therapy business is about solving problems. Building any business is about solving problems. Finding a therapy room. Getting clients. Getting referrals. Improving your website Google ranking. Re-building confidence after a set-back. Working out how to get more clients again.
These are all problems to be solved – and they are all solvable problems.
Be determined that you can and will solve these problems – any problems that arise. It’s not about your innate qualities – it is about acquirable skills and knowledge.Charge the right amount.Find out how much your competitors in your area charge and price yourself in the top 30%.
Do not compete on price. Compete on quality, professionalism and service.Network your contacts when starting out
Offer treatments at nominal rates to get started (a sort of “soft launch”). Message your entire network and tell them you have developed a new treatment approach and want some people to work with feedback – charge nominal rates until you are ready to charge full rates.
If you rent a room in a yoga or therapy centre then offer free tasters to all staff, therapists and teachers – and then ask for referrals.Teach a self-hypnosis workshop (or mindfulness or stress management)
If you can teach a client self-hypnosis then you can teach a group.Join professional registersYou get a logo for your website and a valuable link to your website (Google will consider those links as particularly valuable), plus you should get some referrals. Just one client will pay for that registration. You don’t have to join every register.Sign up with several therapist directories is the most important

Setup your profiles in directories:
If you’ve signed up with directory – take time to setup a professional profile with photos, description and other information.

Sign up with several business directories.
Freeindex, Yell,, ThomsonLocal, Scoot
– make sure they have the correct business information (the same details as on the footer of your website)Setup Social Media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram
Ensure they have the correct information and link to your websiteGet a proper website built. Invest to succeed. (see below for some more quick tips on Websites)
Make sure you know how to change the content.
Invest in learning the technology (it will pay huge dividends)
Get a professional designer to do the design.
Hire a copy-writer to help with your copy (writing your own copy about yourself is worse than pulling out your fingernails)If things are going well then consider offering peak and off-peak prices (so that you aren’t working every evening).Get a telephone answering service.We use Answer4u – it costs about £1 per call. When my mobile or office number is not answered it rolls over to them and they answer on our behalf and then text  and email me the message and contact details.Contact capture and follow-up!Make sure you capture all your enquiries and add them to your contact management system. Ideally setup a form on your website that captures all the details and saves it in an email marketing system.Then send out an email newsletter once a month to all your contacts!Email NewsletterSend out a brief, helpful email newsletter once a month. Make sure it is at least 60% helpful content and no more than 40% promotional.Make a series of at least three standards recordings/CDs/MP3sDeep RelaxationSelf Hypnosis Ego-Strengthening/Confidence Building
Simple Mindfulness

I recorded all of the scripts from the course and then had a library of about 15 standard recordings that I can give clients to use between sessions or sell at workshops.Put a free recording on your website.Require a name and email to download it. Have those names and emails go directly into your email newsletter and customer contact systems.Get some professional photos done!
Put them on your website. Stop being embarrassed and just do it!  This week!
Don’t use stock photos. No butterflies or piles of stones. No quick selfies. Invest £100 to get some great photos done.Write a very personal bio on your website. Reveal who you are. Don’t hide behind professionalism. Clients want to know you are professional AND a warm, real human-being.Record a video for your website.There is no way better to lower the doubts and questions of a prospective client than to have them watch a video of you welcoming them to your website and answering some basic questions. They get to see you, sense you, hear you and know you.
It goes without saying that this needs to done in a relaxed, natural manner – not awkward and stiff!Stay away from advertising on GP appointment cards – it is a well known waste of money.

Use your methods ON YOURSELF!! 

If you aren’t totally confident about marketing and being a therapist then use the techniques you have learned on yourself.Daily Self-HypnosisMindfulnessTension Release BreathingDe-catasphrosise (what is the worst that could happen? Would it be so bad)….. then when anxiety is lowered start to get into Problem Solving.Visualise your goals.Clarify your valuesIdentify inhibition and hesitancy – and address it strongly.

When starting up offer 30 minute free consultations.
When busier you can change this to a free 15 minute phone consultation.
Put together treatment packages
Social Confidence – six sessions for the price of 5
Fear of Flying – 2 x  1.5 hour sessions for £195
IBS  – six sessions over 12 weeks – for the price of 5.etc
End of treatment offer – give clients a brochure or flier and explain all the other things you help with. Offer them a check-in booster session or consultation session for a new issue at 50% off.
Ask for Referrals – during a session when a client says how something has improved… a) write it down  b) at the end of the session ask if, as they’ve experienced this improvement would they forward on a email you’re sending them to 2 people who are struggling with anxiety or health issues and could benefit  c) Send them a nice short email they can forward on.
Remember that print advertising is one of the fastest ways to burn money. In general don’t do it.
Free taster sessions will tend to attract people who want free treatment. A free consultation is different.  However free taster sessions work great for people who can spread the word (e.g. other therapists in a therapy clinic, hairdressers, nail beauticians etc)

Join this FREE Webinar with Mark R. Davis:
Discover the Scientific Approach to Hypnosis and the Professional Opportunities in Hypnotherapy
Click here to register now!

Flyers/Leaflet Marketing
Response to flyers that are door-dropped is very low. Perhaps about 0.5% or 1% if you are lucky.  However a very attractive time-based offer will help.Don’t attempt to door drop less than 5,000. (expect between 2 to 5 responses per 1,000 so 5,000 should give you 10  to 25 responses/enquiries)
Consider a joint effort leaflet effort. 
Get together with other therapists and make a professionally designed mini-brochure (8 pages of A5 – stapled). Drop to 5,000 in your local area with an attractive offer.Costs: Design – £300, Printing: £394 (Solopress inclu delivery), Door Drop: £350 (£35/per thousand).  Total: £1100 – between 4 therapists = £300 each

  • if you repeat the drop then there are no design costs so the 2nd and 3rd drops cost less
  • a good, professional looking, attractive (AIDA) and informative mini-brochure may not get thrown out. It looks valuable and interesting.
  • Or deliver it yourself (fees for having someone else do it are typically £30-£50 per thousand for a solo-drop – i.e. not putting 5 items through the door at the same time).

Read “Marketing Your Professional Services” by Anthony Putman. 
Then follow his advice (old but great solid marketing book).
Develop your 30 second elevator pitch/introduction/answer to the question “What do you do?”
Make it enticing, engaging and accessible.
Just WOW your clients with your service. Over-deliver.
Then ask for testimonials and referrals.
Set-up a follow-up system and agreement with clients.
Follow-up at 3 month, 6 month and 12 month intervals to see if they have maintained their improvements.
Introduce this right at the beginning of therapy.
a) Let’s you track your resultsb) Keeps you in touch with clients and let’s you offer help for additional problems your client is facing
Consider getting a contact management and follow-up system.
i.e. all enquiries are captured into the address book, book appointments for clients, track all email conversations, schedule automated follow-ups at 3, 6 & 12 months.
Get high quality, attractive and engaging business cards made (folded, special size?)Make your website clearer.
Then do that again.
Then review it and do it again.
And again.  (I work on the website every week for at least an hour when I’m not teaching).

Specialise – don’t be a generalist.
It’s not that you will only see clients for that specialist issue – but it will give you a focused market, a special confidence and a reputation.
Get testimonials – also known as social proof.If you setup your client feedback properly then you will be capturing relevant, real and juicy feedback that can (with client permission) be turned into testimonials and case studies.


Website SEO or Facebook or Google PPC ads or offline marketing?

Here’s my opinion

  • Create a clear and helpful professional website with great content (and YOU in there)
  • 5 pages dedicated to each of the main issues you help with (issues treated) + 5 pages dedicated to each local area/town you work in or people can commute from.
  • Make sure your business address and contact details are on each page (in the footer).
  • Citations – make sure all directories (therapist, business, local, national) have the SAME address and contact details.
  • Register your location with Google Local (Google Business Pages)
  • Optimised for natural search results in Google (it’s a whole topic – but make sure your page title tag and H1 and H2 tags contain the main phrase you want to rank for in Google e.g. “hypnotherapy in barnet”)
  • Build links to the website (see section)
  • Register with professional organisations and directories
  • Email capture (free offer) and marketing (email newsletter)
  • Social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) –
  • Review all the above – constantly and tweak
  • Invest in Google PPC ads while your website climbs up the ranks.
  • Track website ranking in Google and website visits (analytics)
  • Keep reviewing the above steps.

Search Engine Optimisation
People tend to search for: Treatment + Issue + location> People are searching for:Hypnotherapy (more than the other two)HypnotherapistHypnosis> The conditions they search for are:AnxietyStop Smoking (more popular than Quit Smoking)ConfidenceSelf-esteemFear of xyzInsomnia / sleeplessnessIBS/Irritiable bowel syndromeCutting back drinking> Plus usually a location – e.g. no-one searches for “hypnotherapy for anxiety” – except as an initial search… they are usually then going to refine it to “hypnotherapy for anxiety Birmingham” for example.
Therefore your geographic location is extremely important. Work out what is your effective geographic radius (e.g. will people drive 30 miles to see you or 5 miles?) – then list all the main local towns near you.a) Have the full address and phone number on the footer of every page on your websiteb) The page content should mention the areas your work in and the conditions you help with.c) The page TITLE <tag> should have “hypnotherapy” and your location “Birmingham” at a minimum.d) Register with Google Local to come up in the local map resultse) Register with a few local directories to get local citations.f) Build a page for every issue treated and location (e.g. “hypnotherapy for confidence, Solihull” and another for “hypnotherapy for confidence, Birmingham”

Get our Prospectus AND Hypno-CBT® Toolbox of 35 evidence-based techniques
Get the Prospectus & Toolbox Now!

Search Engine Optimisation has three aspects:
What words and phrases do you want to rank for? (Research using tools like Google Keyword Tracker)
Onsite optimisation  – are your pages optimised for the keywords/phrases you want to rank for?
Offsite optimisation – do you have links to relevant pages from other websites (ideally trusted, authority websites)


Business Networking

Never did this myself but many many people have found BNI clubs or other business networking clubs very helpful. Typically they meet for breakfast or lunch once a week or once a month – and you have to give a short (60 second?) explanation of your business to everyone there. They find clients for you and you find clients for them.

Give talks

If you can talk to your client you can talk to a group.Most people know very little about hypnosis – but are really interested!
Give talks on hypnosis, pain control, relaxation and stress, mindfulness and much much more.Read and study marketing and salesIf you aren’t comfortable selling what you are offering then find a good hypnotherapist to work with to help you with this – or just go and do something else!You must love and believe in what you are doing, see and know it is of value, and be prepared and excited to let people know about it and charge a good price for your service.If you are uncomfortable about any of this then:a) Use the methods you know to help yourselfb) Get help from others.

Get Support

  • Form a peer group
  • Meet online
  • Get a great supervisor
  • Go to interesting CPD.
  • Call your colleagues and have a chat
  • Invest in a coach or mentor
  • Join a coaching or mentoring club or group.

Get more training?

If you trained with us you really shouldn’t need it – because you’ve learned a huge range of techniques AND how to think like a therapist. If you trained somewhere else then really consider if you have a sufficient range of techniques and approaches.

Here’s a link to our Hypno-CBT® Toolbox of 35 techniques you learn on our Diploma

Unfortunately many schools teach a just few techniques – and virtually NOTHING about how to a proper clinical assessment, agree treatment goals, develop a working model of the client’s problem and collaboratively agree a treatment plan. That’s called learning how to think like a therapist.

Too many schools teach either “paint by numbers therapy” (a script for this and a script for that) OR “power techniques therapy” – (‘if this powerful technique doesn’t work then try this one’).
That’s not really how to do good therapy. Your choice of interventions needs to be more considered. Of course if you only know 3-4 techniques then how can you choose?
So consider if you need to retrain and learn a bigger range of techniques AND how to really think like an expert therapist.

Get together with peers and colleagues and brainstorm your marketing

– here is the product of 20 minutes group brainstorming in one of our course:

  • Make a Marketing Plan
  • Network Existing Contacts
  • Build a great website
  • Create a handout/flyer/leaflet
  • Use social Media
  • Give a Free talk or Demo
  • Offer a free talk at local church
  • Offer a free talk to GPs (which they can use as CPD)
  • Give a talk in a well-being centre
  • Rent a room in a well-being centre
  • Give out referral vouchers
  • Have an offer on Group On
  • Get press coverage – write an article/issue a press release
  • Approach local GP practices
  • Approach specialist clinics
  • Approach local dentists
  • network with local mothers (school gates, mother-toddler groups, Women’s Institute, mums net)
  • Work with Sports Clubs
  • Volunteer your services to local charities (hospice, cancer care etc)
  • Have a stand at a local Health Show (CAM show)
  • Wedding Shows (confidence, weight loss, stop smoking, public speaking, fear of flying, habit change, fear of xyz!)
  • Performers as a market (singers, dances, actors etc – websites? training schools? Offer talks, workshops, trainings as well as one-to-one)
  • Flyer Distribution – Waitrose/M&S, local shops, beauty therapists, coffee shops, library, community centre
  • Engage on discussion forums and answer questions
  • Corporate work!
  • Outreach and network with Dentists! Physios! Podiatrists!
  • Target Students! (exam stress)
  • Offer free talks and trainings to the local police
  • that list took just 20 minutes… and there is lots more to add to that!

Join this FREE Webinar with Mark R. Davis:
Discover the Scientific Approach to Hypnosis and the Professional Opportunities in Hypnotherapy
Click here to register now!

Get your Admin in place!

  • Set or review your prices
  • Get clear on the appointment booking and confirmation process
  • Set and write your contract & cancellation policy
  • Decide on phone and email address
  • Prepare Intake Form (sent before appointment)
  • Prepare Assessment Forms
  • Prepare other Therapy Forms
  • Gather Scripts in one easy location
  • Buy a diary or use online diary
  • Get a business bank account
  • Learn some basic accounting processes (track income, track expanses)
  • Register as self-employed with HMRC
  • Make some basic recordings for clients
  • Develop standard email responses to the 6 main enquiry types – save them (eg. in Gmail as Canned Responses) – always customise the response to each client.
  • Get supervision sorted out. A good supervisor will also help with advise on building your practice.



  • Make a business plan (finances and number of clients per week)
  • Make a marketing plan (how you will get the clients)
  • Make a personal-professional development plan
  • Make supervision a critical part of personal-professional development and a critical part of marketing support.
  • Budget for regular supervision

About the author | Mark R. Davis

Principal and Director of The UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist – with practices in Central and North London. Personal website at